Composite C1, the open source, .NET based CMS, has released version 4 of its main product after five public beta releases, and the system is now deployed on over 50 production websites running on a pre release version.
Open Source .NET CMS Landscape
With this release, Composite C1 stays in the mix of top choices among open source .NET CMSes. However, Umbraco and DotNetNuke may be the top choices in this space, and Umbraco featured a major release back in January. Even Orchard has hit the 4 million download mark in modules and themes, and it also is close to a major release.
Developing in the Microsoft environment simply means there aren't an exorbitant number of CMSes to choose from, so that may or may not be a good thing. Yes, it limits choice, but in this context, having fewer systems to compare probably helps more than it hurts. As with any CMS, some of the main differentiators are often extendability and maintenance.
Composite C1 v4 Visual Editor Block Selector, Starter Sites
This version of Composite C1 offers more starter site options for picking a base design format, and they are based on the popular Twitter Bootstrap and on LESS CSS. For the less technical, these starter designs should be more responsive and mobile friendly than previous versions. Of course, other templates can be used as well, and those who wish to build from the ground up may do so as well.
The team has also added a block selector feature to the Visual Editor. This allows for choosing more than just element styles like paragraphs or lists, for example, and it can build larger canvasses with specific styles like highlighted content boxes or multi column text flow. Ironically, the block selector is not available in Internet Explorer, but the team hopes to have it ready in the next release.
Builidng a page template using Razor in Composite C1.
Also for the non technical, there are Page Template Features, small chunks of editable space where things like a page footer can be updated or changed without having to go into the page template itself. Additionally, a freehand image scaler has been added to the Visual Editor so large images are scaled on the server to ensure the download sizes are kept a bit more tidy. Composite C1 supports all major browsers, but support for Internet Explorer 6 and 7 has been dropped in this release
Version 4 is ready for download today from CodePlex for IIS or Visual Studio, and there is a Windows Web App Gallery version as well for starting up a website from a Windows machine. Windows Azure users also have an option, and the system can be downloaded there.